Note: Today marks Bruce Willis’s 68th birthday. We wanted to take a moment to wish the icon a very happy birthday and reflect on his career:
Here at JoBlo – we love Bruce Willis. When we heard back in March of 2022 that he would step back from acting due to his tragic Aphasia diagnosis, we were as shocked as everyone else, even if there were signs that things weren’t great with Willis going back a number of years. His last truly prominent role was M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass in 2019, while his last lead role was in Eli Roth’s Death Wish. Since then, it’s been chiefly VOD movies for Willis, where his roles were secondary at best. With his recent frontotemporal dementia diagnosis, we now know the truth.
Whatever the case, we here at JoBlo Originals wish to extend our very best to the man and his family at this difficult time. But we also wanted to take a moment to celebrate his long career. Thus, some of our staffers have shared their thoughts on how much Willis, personally, means to all of them. As the editor-and-chief of JoBlo, I can’t overestimate what a profound effect the guy had on me growing up as, along with Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, he was virtually a model for manhood. And I don’t mean that because he was macho. If anything, his vulnerability made me appreciate him, and Willis starred in many of my favorite movies of all time, including the first three Die Hard movies, Pulp Fiction and many more.
Here are some thoughts from other folks here at JoBlo, and I urge you all to share your own sentiments in the comments below!
“When I founded this website back in 1998 as a hobby from my parents’ garage, my main goal with the site was to create a spot where regular Joe’s would review films based on their “entertainment” value, rather than loftier goals, which seemed to be what most critics back in those days, cared about. The main film that I’ve always used as “the example” of this was the 1998 movie Armageddon starring Bruce Willis, which I personally had a blast with and rated it 8/10, while noting that the great majority of critics didn’t care for it.
Bruce Willis has always been that beacon of entertainment for me, as my love for his work started back in the mid-‘80s and his witty repartee with Cybill Shepherd on the great TV series “Moonlighting” but also his many memorable appearances on The David Letterman Show (where he always went out of his way to be unique) and obviously leading to his many many awesome movies starting with the best action movie of all-time (yeah, I said it), Die Hard and into his many memorable performances in movies such as Unbreakable, Pulp Fiction, Twelve Monkeys, The Fifth Element and so many more.
But I think the main reason Bruce Willis has always managed to maintain my interest was because he was such a likeable and charming guy. Even in real life, he always seemed witty, quick and “in on the joke” and for that, he remained one of my favorite actors over the past three decades. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Bruce for EVERYTHING he contributed to the world of movies/TV and to thank him for being one of the reasons this website exists in the first place! Mr. Willis, you have our utmost respect and gratitude for all that you’ve contributed to the world of entertainment during your lifetime, but also for the joy you’ve brought to millions of people around the world. We hope that you can appreciate the love and adoration that we all feel for you and may you live on for many more healthy years! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Berge Garabedian (Founder and CEO of JoBlo Media)
“What can I say? Moonlighting, Blind Date, Striking Distance, The Sixth Sense, The Last Boy Scout, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard of course, The Return of Bruno, yes I do appreciate that, and helping to make bald beautiful. So, thank you Bruce and God Bless you.” – John Fallon (Director of Original Content/Acquisitions – JoBlo Media)
“Where do I begin? I think like most people, my first memory of Bruce Willis was Moonlighting, a show that totally rocked my world when I was that age. I just thought it was great. Him and Cybill Shepherd were amazing, and as I got older I followed his action career. Of course everyone always says Die Hard, and that one’s great, but my personal favorite has always been The Last Boy Scout. I will forever love that movie at Bruce Willis’ character in it. Bruce Willis has provided some much entertainment for me personally. I could never fully express all the entertainment he’s given me or how much I appreciate the work that he’s done. So, thank you Bruce.” – Travis Hopson (Reel Action, JoBlo Originals narrator).
“There are so many amazing Bruce Willis movies. My favorite has to be The Fifth Element. I love his performance in that movie and his endlessly quotable dialogue. Additionally, I don’t know if it gets any better than his guest spot in National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1. Pure comedic genius! Chef’s kiss! I owe my love of Bruce Willis to my Dad. He was a massive fan of Mr. Willis and was happy to share his movies with me. We spent hours watching Die Hard, Look Who’s Talking, and Hudson Hawk. I can’t imagine my career as a movie fan and journalist without Mr. Willis’ influence and boundless talent on the silver screen. “ – Steve Seigh (News Editor)
“My favorite Bruce Willis performances are Unbreakable, as it’s not only one of my favorite Bruce Willis movies, but one of my favorite movies in general. I also love his more subtle and wholesome performance in Moonrise Kingdom and his chemistry with Francis McDermott. I also have to praise his role as Doctor Ernest Menville in Death Becomes Her– and maybe that’s the nostalgia talking but I love it! And how could I complete this list without mentioning Bruce’s role in Pulp Fiction. I could explain why all of his performances mean something to us, but these are my favorite performances from one of my favorite actors. We love Bruno!” – Kier Gomes (Marvel Revisited)
“‘Do Bees bee, do bears bear’ it was a line that David Addison said on the excellent series Moonlighting. Bruce Willis made it funny. He was a genuine real guy that made it seem like we all had a place in this crazy world. Everyone loves Die Hard and Last Boy Scout, but man was this man funny. Blind Date is still a joy. Red was rad. And it’s impossible not to remember what a fantastic actor he was with movies like Looper or In Country. And, don’t forget, The Return of Bruno. Yes, I have that album, and I loved it. We wish you the best, Mr. Willis. Thank you for all that you did. We’re thinking of you, whether its John McClain, Bruno, or just plain Bruce.” – JimmyO (Film Critic)
“My favorite Bruce Willis movie of all time is Last Man Standing. It’s Walter Hill at peak Walter Hill-ness. There’s explosions, there’s gunplay and Bruce Willis is friggin’ fantastic. Plus you’ve got David Patrick Kelly, Christopher Walken and the classic story of a gunslinger who comes to town, pits the two rival gangs against each other. The music is fantastic, the gunplay is fantastic and Bruce Willis is THE MAN.” – Jessica Dwyer (Fantasizing About Fantasy Films, JoBlo Horror Originals writer).
“Bruce Willis’s filmography is packed with movies that I have loved since I was a kid, but I am a sucker for his more off-kilter performances. Two of my favorites are Death Becomes Her and The Fifth Element. The Fifth Element is a great blend of action and humor from the Die Hard legend that takes Bruce’s panache for delivering one-liners and kicking ass with a surreal and wonderfully bizarre sci-fi epic. Death Becomes Her is one of Bruce’s most distinct movies because he plays the comedic relief opposite Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. Bruce is so damn funny in this movie and it is another example of how good he was at defying stereotypes. I just want to say thank you, Bruce, for define my love of movies, especially these two.” – Alex Maidy (TV/ Movie Critic)
“My whole life has been full of Bruce Willis movies. Hearing his voice in Look Who’s Talking and then you get introduced to the “M Night Shyamalan Bruce Willis” and you are blown away. Then as you get a little bit older, you are allowed to watch Pulp Fiction. Not only is he an action star but he also does some quirky, fun symmetrical stuff from Wes Anderson like Moonrise Kingdom. And of course, the greatest action movie ever made, Die Hard, which I have two Blu-rays of, for some reason. Yes, I know Die Hard is the greatest movie ever but for some reason, my favorite Bruce Willis movie is Die Hard with a Vengeance. I spend a whopping $2.99 on the DVD and it was worth every gosh darn penny. This movie is full of fun, full of action, full of comedy, full of suspense, its got everything you want in a movie and all of that is thanks to Bruce Willis. Thank you Bruce Willis, for making these awesome awesome movies. You have done an amazing job, you have had an amazing career, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I said, God bless you and your family. We wish you the best. Thank you.” – Taylor James Johnson (WTF Happened to this Celebrity)
“Like many of a certain age, my first introduction to Mr. Willis was from my mother’s favorite show, Moonlighting. And I’ve been a fan of his ever since she took me to see Die Hard 2 in the theater. There are a few films of his I revisit quite often: The Whole Nine Yards, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Unbreakable. But, the film that made me want to be a filmmaker since the age of twelve would have to be Pulp Fiction. We love you, Bruce. Always.” – Mike Conway (Editor – JoBlo Horror Originals)
All that to say, we here at JoBlo adore the man, and if this is the end of his career, well, you can’t do much better than the body of work he leaves behind. We all hope he has many years of happiness and good health ahead of him, and he remains a guy we genuinely love and respect.